Kingstonian F.C.
1919-1920 SEASON

Although the Great War had ended in November 1918 it took a while to hear anything concerning either of the Pre War Kingston football teams. It was April 1919 when football was first mentioned as result of a meeting held regarding the revival of Old Kingstonians and an offer to sell them their former ground at Norbiton.

After the death of David Judd during the war, the Judd family seemed keen to sell it quickly and they had offered the land at a price of £2,225 to include the stand and other buildings on the site, however they only gave a very short deadline of 1st May with no time to organise an appeal for funds. Half of the money was pledged on the spot, even though there was no absolute certainty of an Old Kingstonians' revival, but three weeks later a meeting was held where it transpired that any possible purchase had fallen through.

This meeting did however bring about the merger of Old Kingstonians and Kingston On Thames F.C.. With the death of David Judd, the main inspiration behind Old Kingstonians, and William G. Carn moving away from the area it was good timing for a fresh start and any lingering animosity between the old clubs was put into perspective by four years of war. The vote was unanimous and a temporary committee was formed for the purpose of applying to the Athenian League and finding a new ground. The old Kingston On Thames F.C. had also lost their ground with Thorpe Road turned into allotments during the war.

Just one week later in June 1919 came news that a ground had been secured at Richmond Road. The Dysart Trust made land available for K's to rent in the remaining part of the field next to the allotments that had housed the old Kingston On Thames ground. This meant the main entrance that had previously been in Thorpe Road was now on the main Richmond Road and directly next to a tram stop.

Although based very close to the old home of Kingston On Thames F.C., the club was predominantly made up of people from the Old Kingstonians with one of the driving forces being former O.K., Sir William Yarworth Jones, who was voted President. Most of the committee were people more closely associated with O.K.s but a key position of Secretary was given to Alfred North who had been Secretary of Kingston On Thames before the war. The former O.K.s' secretary, Charles Brockwell, was given the post of Team Secretary.

At a meeting of the combined clubs in June, Yarworth Jones got the ball rolling with a guarantee of £200 to clear outstanding debts of £115 and to provide £85 for current running costs. It had been agreed that the new Kingstonian F.C. should honour all the debts of the former clubs and Yarworth Jones' offer made the money immediately available and to be recouped, if possible, from the proceeds of an August Bank Holiday sports meeting held at the cricket ground on Richmond Road. The meeting also confirmed that an application to the Athenian League had been successful.

The Sports meeting was held at the start of August which was a traditional bank holiday at the time. It was considered a success with about 3,000 people attending and work was taking place to move the old stand a short distance from Thorpe Road and re-erect it at the new playing field. Work was also taking place to provide changing rooms and ensure the whole ground was enclosed.

William Yarworth Jones from Surrey Comet dated 19th August 1925.

Advert for the Sports Day printed in the Surrey Comet dated 19th July 1919.
Trials then took place before the 6th September scheduled start to the season when K's hoped to field 3 teams. In the event though it seemed as though only one reserve team played anything like regularly. Matches for the reserves were just friendlies aside from an entry into the South West Middlesex Victory Cup where Kingstonian Reserves lost in the Second Round after three games against Twickenham Melrose.

The Comet reported that although football was meant to be a "young man's game" the trials did little to provide new talent and that the players who stood out had already played for one of the pre-war teams. Prominent in the trial matches had been Harry Mansey, Pat Sheehy and Dick Garrett but none of them were to play a big role in the upcoming season. The standard of the trials was summed up by the fact that one of the players, Andrews, "although hampered by non-sporting attire, put in a lot of good work".

When it came to the start of the season only three Pre-War players were included in the line up for the first game against Southall and by the end of the season, only one player, Harry Crick (from Kingston On Thames F.C.), could be said to have been a regular. Another Pre-War player, H. Gibson, was seen running the line as his priority was obtaining employment before recommencing football duties. He did however end up playing 3 games early in the season.

The sun was shining on the day of Kingstonian F.C.'s debut as a football club in the Athenian League and the Comet reported that "Quite a number of supporters availed themselves of motoring facilities to Southall". K's lost 4-2 but, given it was a totally new team and that the Southall club had kept running during the war, there was not considered any reason to be gloomy.

K's first home game was a week later against what were to become fierce local rivals Wimbledon. Although not a patch on Pre-War crowds, people seemed happy with the attendance of around 1,000 that turned out for the match and producing gate receipts of £30. Sir William Yarworth Jones had been greeted with cheers from the crowd when arriving at the game. Although K's went into a 2-0 lead their fitness was lacking and by the end were relieved to have earned a point in a 2-2 draw. The next match, also at Richmond Road, again saw a crowd of around 1,000 as K's went 4-0 down against what were to be the runaway leaders of the league, Luton Clarence. They pulled 2 goals back late on to make the score look more respectable.
Perhaps a few people expected the amalgamation to produce immediate results but it was obvious it would take time for a completely new club to compete against established Athenian League teams and the Athenian League was also at a much higher level than the previous Kingston clubs had been playing at Pre-War. Despite criticism about the Sports Day event taking efforts away from the pre-season preparations, the Comet was relatively pleased that the foundations that had been laid.

K's were then drawn at West Norwood in the F.A. Cup Preliminary Round. However West Norwood were sharing with Nunhead who needed the ground, so the fixture was switched to Kingston. A rail strike put paid to the original date for the fixture. Norwood had sent a telegram at 11.25 on the morning advising that they could not attend. However because of the transport chaos the telegram only arrived at 4.30, half an hour after the scheduled Kick Off time. There were about 1,000 people in the ground at the time and many others wisely waiting outside having realised that there was some doubt about the game taking place. For those inside the ground, tickets were handed out for use at a future match. With the game rescheduled for the following Saturday a healthy crowd of around 2,000 saw Kingstonian F.C.'s first ever win by a score of 3-1. In part this was said to be due to the re-appearance of the Pre-War players; Rowe, Gibson and Wilson, but, aside from Josh Rowe, none of them were to play more than a handful of games for the new club. Rowe was apparently unaffected by more than 80 separate shrapnel wounds he had received during the war and hit the bar from 30 yards. It was his only game for the club that season but was to reappear in future seasons. More than most, his career had been affected by the war having played a game for Manchester United in the season before war broke out.

Josh Rowe- picture from Surrey Comet dated 6 Jan 1934.
The wish for the West Norwood game had been that "all is desired is a good sporting game, an impartial crowd and that the better team may win". This was certainly the case for that game which saw the home supporters applaud any good move by the visitors, and that attitude tended to be normal for between the wars amateur football. However, the following week was a different story in the next round of the FA Cup with a game at Guildford that K's lost 7-1. K's Right Back, F.W. Makepeace, was involved in a incident with a Guildford player, Byrne, where it was claimed Makepeace had tripped or kicked him. Byrne retaliated by hitting Makepeace and was sent off as a result. The crowd were incensed and several fans invaded the pitch. Later in the first half Makepeace was sent off for attempting to trip another Guildford player. It gave Makepeace a place in the record books as the first player for the new Kingstonian team ever to be sent off and also earned him a surprisingly long ban by modern standards that lasted until January 1920. Although Makepeace played three more games that season around Easter time, largely as a result of an injury to Bert Rollo, those were to be his last for the club.

K's followed the trauma of the Guildford thrashing the previous week with another thrashing, this time at the hands of Wimbledon in the Amateur Cup with K's beaten 6-1 and players showing signs of a lack of fitness and training. Another heavy league defeat, 4-1 at title challengers Metrogas, the following Saturday began to make for a gloomy looking season. The Metrogas ground was at the Old Kent Road surrounded by "gasometers, great heaps of coal and the backyards of quite a number of unpreprossessing dwellings". The Comet reporter chose to concentrate on the surroundings of the area on the grounds that the K's performance was even worse. After three bad defeats in a row, K's bounced back with a London Senior Cup win at home to Wealdstone before losing 4-3 at home in a league match with Summerstown. K's had led 3-0 with just half an hour remaining.

Having used 33 players in just 9 games K's were bottom of the league. However things began to pick up and, with a more settled side, K's started to get some points. They achieved their first league victory against Uxbridge Town in late November with a convincing 4-0 win and also made progress in the London Senior Cup beating Leyton in the 4th Qualifier and then had a magnificent 2-0 win over Metrogas in the 5th. They also managed a 0-0 draw in the First Round of the Surrey Senior Cup at home to Wimbledon before losing the replay 3-1. The first game was abandoned during extra time because of bad light but, as was standard practice in those days, the replay was played at Wimbledon rather than the home game being re-run.

K's put the high scoring defeats behind them and, although they lost 7-1 at Cheshunt on Boxing Day, this was due to fielding a largely reserve team with the first team held back for the Surrey Senior Cup match on the following day. K's run in the London Senior Cup ended in the First Round Proper with a 6-1 defeat against Leytonstone from the Isthmian League which emphasised the gap in quality, if not between that of the respective leagues then at least between the Kingston team and a mid table Isthmian side. This was supposed to be the last game for their popular goalkeeper, Charlie Warner, who had to give up on "doctors orders" but K's soon found an able replacement in W. F. Winyard. Warner was however to return in later seasons.

The only remaining Cup competition they were in was the Surrey Charity Shield. K's beat Wimbledon before giving Metrogas another hard time, drawing 2-2 before losing the replay 2-0. In the first game, which was to become something of a regular grudge fixture, there were quite a few controversial incidents due to what the K's crowd considered rough tactics on the part of Metrogas and the Metrogas team needed an escort to see them safely off the pitch at the end. Metrogas finished second in the league that season so K's record of two wins, one draw and two defeats against them in all competitions was a good one.

Kingstonian's league form was showing a vast improvement and they were gradually pushing away from the bottom of the table. George Stentiford had been moved to the forward line where he had formed a successful partnership with Albert "Cocker" Harry. Stentiford scored 11 goals and Harry 19 goals despite Harry only joining the club at the end of November. Both players were to remain top scorers the following season, each scoring over 20 goals.They were later to play professional football; Harry joining Crystal Palace while Stentiford signed for Huddersfield and then played at various league teams including Stoke and Stockport before returning south to Guildford United. Guildford United were playing at a high level at the time in the Southern League which was semi professional containing many football league reserve teams.

The K's side was looking settled and Billy Wright had returned from a mid season period when he played for Woking. Having played a blinder for Woking in March in a friendly against K's he was back in the Kingstonian colours the following week. They had already managed an impressive 5-3 league win against Metrogas prior to the Surrey Charity Shield games. They also achieved good results against other teams in the top five, beating Barnet and taking a point off Hampstead and Bromley. The Bromley game saw K's two goals down until 5 minutes from the end when they came back for a 2-2 draw.

Easter had K's in good form as they took maximum points from their 3 games including the first away league win in their history with a 2-0 win at Barnet on Easter Monday. On the Saturday they had gained revenge on Cheshunt with a 9-2 win that saw Stentiford score five goals. Two of these games had been at home where K's had a pretty decent record but it had been their away form that had let them down. With 4 of their final 5 games away from home they lost all 4 of those away games for a disappointing end to the season that also saw them lose the replay at Metrogas in the Surrey Charity Shield. In fairness the run in did include some midweek games which forced team changes on them. They did however produce a very good result away at champions Luton Clarence, only losing 2-1 and with much of the forward line brought into defence for the game. Together with the home game, Kingstonian had scored 3 of the only 14 goals that Luton Clarence conceded in the league that season.

K's rounded off the season with a 2-2 draw at home to Hampstead and finished 8th out of 12 teams. Overall the season could only be regarded as a good one by recognition of the position the new team had started from and the obstacles that had been "courageously met".

Albert "Cocker" Harry (top) and George Stentiford (bottom). Both players went on to professional league clubs.
Stentiford Pic courtesy GoGoGoCounty (Stockport County history site)

Results, appearances, scorers, links to match reports and general articles.

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1920-1921 Season
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